Delhi HC defers hearing in Naresh Goyal plea challenging LOC issued against him

Delhi HC defers hearing in Naresh Goyal plea challenging LOC issued against him

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today deferred the hearing in a plea by debt-ridden Jet Airways founder and former Chairman Naresh Goyal challenging a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him.

The matter was listed for hearing before a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru, who directed that the matter be listed before another Bench.

The LOC was issued against Naresh Goyal at the insistence of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

It is Goyal’s case that the LOC was issued without any basis and in violation of Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution. Pursuant to the LOC, Goyal and his wife Anita were deplaned from a Dubai-bound flight on May 25.

In his petition, Goyal has claimed that he is a law abiding citizen and that he was traveling to Dubai to meet certain investors for resuming the operation of Jet Airways. Goyal has alleged that he was not provided with a copy of the LOC in spite of several inquiries, and was thus denied an opportunity to clarify his stance.

The Court has also been informed that till date, no FIR has been registered against Goyal for the commission of any offence. Therefore, he is not an accused.

Jet Airways owes over Rs 8,000 crore to lenders, including the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India. The airline also has a large debt by way of accumulated losses to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore, vendor dues of over Rs 10,000 crore, and salary dues of over Rs 3,000 crore. Insolvency proceedings are presently pending before National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench.

Following the downfall of Jet Airways, Goyal had resigned from the Board of the company in March.

The petition, filed through advocate Sakesh Goyal, has also challenged the Office Memorandums dated October 27, 2010 and December 5, 2012, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. These form the basis of issuance of the LOCs.

Goyal was represented by former ASG, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh.

The matter will be heard next on July 9.

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